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Published July 2012 | Published + Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Precision Near-Infrared Photometry for Exoplanet Transit Observations. I. Ensemble Spot Photometry for an All-Sky Survey


Near-IR observations are important for the detection and characterization of exoplanets using the transit technique, either in surveys of large numbers of stars or for follow-up spectroscopic observations of individual planets. In a controlled laboratory experiment, we imaged ~10^4 critically sampled spots onto an Teledyne Hawaii-2RG (H2RG) detector to emulate an idealized star field. We obtained time-series photometry of up to ≃24 hr duration for ensembles of ~10^3 pseudostars. After rejecting correlated temporal noise caused by various disturbances, we measured a photometric performance of less than 50 ppm hr^(-1/2) limited only by the incident photon rate. After several hours we achieved a photon-noise-limited precision level of 10–20 ppm after averaging many independent measurements. We conclude that IR detectors such as the H2RG can make the precision measurements needed to detect the transits of terrestrial planets or to detect faint atomic or molecular spectral features in the atmospheres of transiting extrasolar planets.

Additional Information

© 2012 The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Received 2012 February 20; accepted 2012 May 25; published 2012 June 25. The research described in this article was carried out in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Support from the JPL Research and Technology Development program and from the Near-IR Camera (NIRCam) instrument on James Webb Space Telescope is gratefully acknowledged. We are grateful to Thomas Greene and Jim Beletic for useful discussions. The HR2G detector used for these experiments was provided by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. We used NASA's Exoplanet Archive in the preparation of this article.

Attached Files

Published - Clanton_2012_PASP_124_700.pdf

Accepted Version - 1206.4305v1.pdf


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